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Thursday December 02, 2021

Economic Survey 2018/19: Agriculture being mainstay of economy grew by only 2.67pc

June 12, 2020

ISLAMABAD: A sector that is considered the mainstay of economy and provides livelihood for almost two out of every five Pakistanis, if grows by only 2.67 percent, it should be considered alarm bells for the government and push it to give more preference to the sector in upcoming federal budget.

Still this growth is strong against last year’s growth of only 0.58 percent however,missed its target of 3.5 percent for the year under review. Cotton, a major cash crop and sugarcane production remain low against their targets.

Keeping in view the performance, we would be unable to feed the nation with so much low growth while our population growth is 1.94 percent. This can create food insecurity and the commodities availability will become difficult and costly, especially for poor.

According to Economic Survey 2019/20 that is a blueprint of the outgoing fiscal’s performance revealed that share of agriculture sector in GDP was decreasing over last several years, while industrial and services sectors share was increasing, but this year the share of agriculture increased while other reduced. This indicating that over the year industrialization and service sector contracted.

The survey notes that the performance of agriculture sector improved over the last year and it also performed better than other sectors. However, there were challenges including climate change, pest attacks and shortage of water that kept agriculture production far less than the potential.

Farmers’ no direct access to markets, due to which they are being exploited by middleman and they do not get fair price for their produce resulting in discouraging them to produce more. Because of not getting fair price, their cost of production also increases.

The survey noted that there was no significant impact of COVID-19 on the agriculture sector. Cotton and sugarcane posted negative growth of 6.92 percent and 0.44 percent respectively. The positive growth of 2.90 percent in important crops was observed due to an increase in production of wheat, rice, and maize at 2.45 percent, 2.89 percent, and 6.01 percent, respectively. Other crops have shown growth of 4.57 percent mainly because of an increase in the production of pulses, oilseeds, and vegetables.

Cotton ginning has declined by 4.61 percent due to a decrease in the production of the cotton crops while the livestock sector has shown a growth of 2.58 percent. Cotton contributes about 0.8 percent to GDP and 4.1 percent of total value addition in agriculture.

Cotton production is estimated at around 9.178 million bales, which is lower by 6.9 percent over the last year’s production of 9.861 million bales. Sugarcane production decreased by 0.4 to 66.880 million tonnes as compared to 67.174 million tonnes of last year.

Rice production increased by 2.9 percent to 7.410 million tonnes against 7.202 million tonnes driven in part by higher domestic prices and availability of inputs on subsidized rates. Wheat crop production increased by 2.5 percent to 24.946 million tonnes over last year’s production of 24.349 million tonnes.

During 2019-20, maize production increased by 6.0 percent to 7.236 million tonnes compared to last year’s production million tonnes. The production increased due to increase in area and availability of improved variety of seed as well as economic returns.

During fiscal year 2020 (July-March), 2.748 million tonnes edible oil of value Rs 321.535 billion ($ 2.046 billion) was imported. Local production of edible oil during 2019-20 (July-March) is estimated at 0.507 million tonnes. Total availability of edible oil from all sources is provisionally estimated at 3.255 million tonnes.

Poultry meat production showed a growth rate of 9.1 percent whereas egg production showed a growth of 5.6 percent to 20.0 billion Nos. during 2019-20 as compared to previous year.

The total production of fish & fishery products has increased by 9.7 percent whereas marine and inland increased by 11.2 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively. During the year 2019-20 (July-March), a total quantity of 133,226 metric tonnes of fish and fishery products valued $ 317.307 million (Rs49,528 million) were exported. The export of fish & fishery products has increased by 2.7 percent in quantity term whereas in value terms it increased by 8.0 percent and in rupee terms it increased by 26.2 percent during 2019-20 (July-March).

During these nine months banks have disbursed Rs912.2 billion as agriculture credit which is 67.6 percent of the overall annual target and 13.3 percent higher than the disbursement of Rs 804.9 billion made during the same period of last year.

Gross value addition of livestock has increased from Rs1.43 trillion (2018-19) to Rs1.466 trillion (2019-20), showing an increase of 2.5 percent over the same period of last year.